Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover has announced plans to shed 200 jobs across its UK operations but claimed that the redundancies were not connected with the economic downturn or slump in car sales.
"It is a small redundancy programme and it affects 198 staff across manufacturing sites, including Halewood. It affects hourly paid employees and is part of the company's ongoing drive to improve efficiency," company spokesman Don Hume said.
The employees will receive a nine-month lump sum based on salary and any over 60 will be entitled to a full pension.
The redundancies are planned to take effect by the end of next month and the company said it was not intending to make any compulsory cuts.
The company has faced falling demand for the luxury 4x4s in established markets in Europe and the US. However, it has reported a sales boost of its award-winning XF model.
In September, the company announced it was easing output of Jaguars at its Castle Bromwich plant, while Land Rover has axed a night shift at its Lode Lane factory in Solihull and put some models on a four-day week production cycle. Halewood, which employs 2,500 and builds the Jaguar X-type saloon and Land Rover Freelander, is to close for a week at the end of the month to ease over-capacity. Staff will continue to be paid.
The company added that workers on Jaguar's XJ and XK production lines were likely to stay on a four-day week for the rest of 2008. The four-day week is likely to reduce XJ and XK production by a maximum of 400 models.